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DLSU students get a headstart in blockchain technology

The Business Law Conference was held on July 28 at the Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium, De La Salle University. It was organized by Ley La Salle, a professional organization of aspiring lawyers and legal management majors of De La Salle University.

Blockchain is one of the most talked about technology and yet it is the topic that leaves a look of perplexity on people’s faces. The law and legal management students of De La Salle University are fortunate enough to be introduced to this technology this early.
The event was graced by the presence of these personalities:.

  • Sec Raul Lambino – Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), administrator and CEO
  • Jin Gonzales – Business development director, Fintech Business Group, Unionbank
  • Emerson Fonceca – Country head, NEM Philippines
  • Nelson Valero – Council member and head, NEM ANZ
  • Atty. Rafael Padilla – Head of Legal Compliance, SCI Ventures

Sec. Raul Lambino gave an update on how CEZA welcomes the blockchain technology. As testament to that, it is positioning Cagayan as the hub for blockchain tech companies in the Philippines.

“The true value of blockchain maybe found in how it aspires to return the online world to its origin as a more decentralized and egalitarian system,” lambino said. 

The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NEM and CEZA also took place right after Lambino’s speech. The aim of this initiative is to boost blockchain education in Cagayan.

Jin Gonzales introduced blockchain by comparing customer experience when riding a taxi against using a ride-sharing applications like Uber and Grab. He expressed his opinion about how blockchain can further improve overall customer experience on the premise that people will own and be in control of their own data.

Gonzales also shared how they are helping rural banks utilize blockchain on remittance services. Removing the hindrances and cutting down the cost of remittance will likely result in an increase in the number of rural bank customers. Unionbank sees an opportunity in blockchain in this area.

The students were also introduced to the NEM blockchain. Emerson Fonseca explained how the platform works and its advantages. He encouraged the participants to download the Nano wallet, a wallet service developed by NEM. He also taught them how to use XEM, the native currency of NEM.

Finally, Atty. Rafael Padilla delivered a very relevant presentation about linking law with blockchain entitled: Blockchain Meet Law: Law Meet Blockchain. He started by defining blockchain from business and legal perspectives. Using the definition of William Mougayar, the author of The Business Blockchain, blockchain is an exchange network for moving value between peers from a business point of view. From a legal point of view, Padilla defined it as a transaction validation mechanism not requiring intermediary assistance. He discussed lessons from the past and cited the examples from Lex Mercatoria (merchant law) and Lex Informatica (policy for the internet) how a self-regulating market can adopt policy formation and regulations.

He noted the best approach is to balance the interest between blockchain and law. Blockchain should supplement the law instead of being above it.

“No blockchain is an island. While I agree that code is law, that blockchain and its architecture is the way of regulation, it should also be balanced and it should also take into consideration legal systems.”

The conference was a success in the sense that it undoubtedly gave the students a head start in this industry – arming them with the basic knowledge of blockchain, introducing them into actual use cases, and finally providing them pointers on how it can be used as a tool in their future career as lawyers.

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